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Blueberries - cultivation and methods of propagation

Photo of growing blueberries
If the necessary conditions are met, blueberry cultivation and methods of propagation are carried out without much effort. Moreover, this plant is unpretentious, and the benefits of blueberries are enormous.

Blueberries belong to the heather family. This is a low shrub up to 1 measure, growing in the Northern Hemisphere. Found in Eurasia, Spain, Turkey, Japan and North America. In nature, shrubs prefer to grow in acidic peat soils, swampy areas and coniferous forests.

Blueberries are a moisture-loving plant. Its root system goes only 50 cm deep. To maintain the optimal amount of moisture and nutrients, the roots participate in symbiosis with the mycelium of the fungus. Therefore, an important condition for growing blueberries is high soil acidity. Blueberries require careful watering, but the water should not stagnate. It is only necessary to keep the soil moist. To do this, watering is carried out twice a week. During the period of fruit set, it is especially important to provide the plant with sufficient water. In hot summers, you can additionally spray water on the top of the bushes.

In the first years of its life, the plant will need careful weeding. Weeds consume a significant portion of the nutrients from the soil, competing with the blueberry root system located close to the soil surface. Therefore, pest plants should not be allowed to grow.

Blueberries respond well to fertilizing, allowing young seedlings to grow well. You should not feed blueberries with organic matter, otherwise it may destroy the plant.

Pruning should only be done when necessary. In spring, only frozen and diseased branches are pruned. After 12 years, the plant undergoes replacement pruning.

Blueberries can withstand frosts down to 25°, and in stronger cold weather they need additional shelter.

Blueberry propagation methods:

  • Cuttings. Root cuttings up to 15 cm long are taken in spring or autumn. After this, the cuttings are placed in a cool place for a short period of time. Then the cuttings are placed at an angle in the nutrient mixture to form roots. In the future, they can be planted in a permanent place. But the survival rate of cuttings is very weak.
  • Seed method. Dried fruits are sown in beds well protected from the wind. After two years, the emerging seedlings can be transplanted to a permanent place.
  • Reproduction by layering. Healthy young branches are bent to the ground and allowed to take root. When roots appear, the branch can be separated and transplanted to a permanent place.
  • Dividing the bush. To do this, you need to dig up the bush and divide it into several parts so that each of them has an upper part and roots. The separated parts are planted in new places.

Blueberries, growing from seeds in the garden

Growing blueberries from seeds in the garden is a rather labor-intensive process, but brings good results. First you need to prepare the seeds. After harvesting, the ripest, undamaged berries are selected. They must be well dried in natural conditions. After this, sowing can be done in autumn or spring. If the process is carried out in spring, then three months before this it is necessary to place the berries in a cool place at a temperature of about -5°.

Next, the seeds are planted in prepared containers with nutritious peat soil. It is necessary to bury the seeds into the soil 1 cm, then sprinkle with sand and peat. In order for the seeds to sprout, they need careful care. The air temperature should be within 25°, and the humidity should be about 40%. The soil must be loosened and watered well. The seeds do not need fertilizing; it can only be done next year.

After two years, the sprouts that have appeared can be planted in a permanent place.

Blueberries, growing from cuttings at home

Growing blueberries from cuttings at home can be done in two ways. Using the first method, thin annual cuttings of 12 cm or more are selected in the autumn. They are placed in nutritious peat and stored in a cool place.

Important: The lower cut of the cutting should be under the bud.

The bottom of the container in which the cuttings are planted should allow air to pass through well. When planting, 1-2 buds should remain above the ground. The container with the cuttings is covered with film and placed in a warm, windless place, avoiding sudden temperature changes and drafts.

In spring, when the cuttings take root, they can be planted in a permanent place in the open air.

The second method of cultivation involves green cuttings. At the beginning of summer, healthy shoots up to 15 cm long are selected, separating them from the main plant as close to the soil as possible. The lower leaves are removed and the upper ones are cut in half. For some time, the cuttings can be placed in a nutrient mixture, and then planted in prepared containers. The cuttings are covered with film or other dense material.

It is necessary to create conditions under which the air temperature will be 25° and avoid direct exposure to sunlight. If the humidity in the room is low, it is necessary to provide the cuttings with timely watering. You can also moisten the film over the cuttings to regulate the air temperature. After a year, you can plant the cuttings in a permanent place.

Blueberries - how to prepare the soil for planting

Gardeners often wonder how to prepare the soil for planting blueberries? The ideal soil for this plant is sandy or peat soil. Moreover, the acidity of the soil should be in the range: 3.5 – 5.5. But what to do if the soil in the garden has a different composition?

Tip: To independently determine the acidity of the soil, you need to mix a small amount of soil with distilled water and let it brew. Place litmus paper in the water and take readings.

To obtain peat soil, a planting hole 80 cm deep is dug. The bottom of the hole is filled with a mixture of peat, sand and humus. To increase acidity, humus, superphosphate and wood ash are added. The resulting mixture must be dug to a depth of about 40cm. It is necessary to ensure that the occurrence of groundwater is not too close to the soil surface. The optimal distance for groundwater is 1 meter.

For better drainage, you can add pine needles or sawdust to the planting hole. Components such as citric or malic acid will have a good effect on soil acidity. Other fertilizers can change the composition of the soil, so they should not be applied.

The soil mixture for planting is compacted and you can begin planting blueberries. In such soil the plant will grow well, and fruiting will not have to wait long.

For best results, planting should be done with high-quality, healthy seedlings. It is best to purchase seedlings from a nursery, where planting material is at the highest level. Such seedlings will be less sick and will take root better in a new place.

Blueberries - pruning when planting

Pruning blueberries when planting is aimed mainly at the formation of more buds and branching of branches. However, it is necessary to ensure that the crown does not thicken. Young plants are pruned to create the correct shape. The shrub should grow upright and have small branches. Too much density of branches can interfere with the penetration of sunlight, which will significantly affect the yield.

In the future, you can trim the ends of the shoots to increase yield, as well as carry out preventive and sanitary pruning. To do this, remove weak, frozen and diseased branches. If the blueberries are properly formed, then there is no need to trim them at all.

Proper care and creation of favorable conditions for the plant will allow you to collect tasty and healthy berries.